A social activist was cleared yesterday of failing to dismount from her bicycle and push it after a High Court judge found a traffic sign “ambiguous and confusing”. Ho Loy, a heritage preservationist who was involved in protests against the demolition of the Star Ferry and Queen’s piers, was fined HK$500 by a magistrate for continuing to ride her bicycle at a restricted area on Lantau Island on May 13, 2013. The restricted area is bordered by bollards on either side – with a sign requiring cyclists to dismount their bicycles on entering the area and a sign allowing cyclists to resume cycling on leaving the area. The prosecution said that Ho was riding a bicycle at Yu Tung Road cycling track near a lamp post and that she did not dismount from her bicycle upon reaching the traffic sign. Ho, however, argued that she had cycled past the location many times and that she had been confused by the sign all along. She believed the sign indicated the presence of a cycle path and she could keep moving. Mr Justice Kevin Zervos said in a judgment: “My first observation about the sign is that in my view it does not indicate that cycling is prohibited.” “It displays a figure of a man in standing position with one hand on the seat and the other hand on the handlebars of an image of a bicycle.” He added that traffic signs must convey with sufficient precision the message they seek to communicate to road users. Although Zervos quashed Ho’s conviction, he criticised her behaviour when she was stopped by the police sergeant for riding her bicycle. Ho ignored the sergeant’s request and proceeded to leave. At the time, Ho told the sergeant: “Ah sir, if not for that I was going to a meeting, I can play a lengthy game with you. Let me teach you one more word: civil disobedience.” Zervos said: “The obdurate and disrespectful behaviour to the police sergeant was unwarranted and totally inappropriate.